Bag Free World are the organisers of the International plastic bag free day, a global initiative that aims to eliminate or radically reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in the world. There are some truly shocking statistics – in 2011 in the UK, 254 plastic bags were given out every second whilst around the world the average plastic bag is only used for 25 minutes!
In order to limit the amount of single use plastic bags countries such as Italy, Rwanda and Bangladesh have banned them, others prefer taxing them whilst others opt for voluntary agreements. Countries that have taken action to restrict the use of disposable plastic bags are also growing, amongst them are France, Denmark, Ireland and Switzerland. It seems it needs to be action taken at a governmental level as so many people just cant seem to kick the habit. If youre wondering what you can do, then there are some good activist tips here.
But have you ever wondered what happens to all the plastic that gets thrown away? This documentary called Toxic Garbage Island shows the shocking reality of how our increased use of the ocean as a dumping ground is slowly destroying ecosystems.
But while their eco-impact might be harsh, at the very least you can make a plastic bag serve a second purpose before it ends up in a landfill. There are, of course, the obvious uses: lining a bin, cleaning up after a dog or reusing them as bags at the supermarket. But here are some other great, innovative ways to re-use plastic bags.
Blogger Jana Trent has used old plastic bags for numerous purposes. One that I thought would be great to have a go at was weaving. Jana has created this handy outdoor cushion, and she gives a great demonstration on her blog, showing you step by step how to create your very own plastic weave product.
For those of you with an artistic flair, Virginia Fleck is an American Visual artist who works exclusively with plastic bags (see above) creating bold ecologically concious artworks that are displayed in several high profile locations around the world. Virginia has produced a innovative way to up-cycle thousands of plastic bags into these vividly coloured and striking pieces.
There are lots of D.I.Y ideas for up-cycling plastic bags, two great examples I found were these ethereally coloured but usable vessels designed by Supercyclers (above). Named ‘Plastic Fantastic’ they are really easy to make and watertight! So you can use them for any number of functions. Slightly more complex is this great pattern for a crocheted tote bag (below).
The dream is of course for all plastic bags to be eliminated and production stopped but sadly that seems to be some way off. So in the mean-time we need to find ways of reducing the demand for single use plastic bags. It can be as simple as keeping a few bags with you when you head out, so invest in a Baggee, to reusing what you have already collected, and saying no to using more.
Either way the plastic bag is surely on the decline and that can only be a good thing for our precious resources, and the health of our environment.